By Niall Gartland
St Paul’s Minor Tournament semi-final
Enniskillen Gaels v Lavey
Sunday, 1pm, St Paul’s
SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS and all that, and Enniskillen Gaels boss Kevin Lavelle says his younger players have been inspired by the stars of two years ago.
Enniskillen won the St Paul’s tournament in 2017/18 with a victory over Ballinscreen, so it’s safe to say they’ll not be over-awed by the prospect of playing another Derry team, Lavey, in this weekend’s semi-final clash.
They’ve a couple of players still knocking from the 2018 success, but most of their players participating in the Ulster Minor tournament come from the u-17 team which won last year’s Fermanagh Championship, and one thing they’re not lacking in is confidence.
“A lot of our players would have been watching on two years ago and the belief a young fella can get in his own ability when he sees his mates win something shouldn’t be underestimated.
“Sport is a great thing, if you bring the boys together and win something it’s fantastic but at the end of the day it’s about giving cubs football. That’s what is needed for clubs to survive.”
The Gaels got up and running at the weekend with a 3-6 to 0-8 victory over Cargin. The management made some smart moves on the day, including putting Conor Murphy on their main scoring threat Pat Shivers, while Josh Horan, normally a defender, came on in the final quarter and did a job in the full-forward role, scoring their third of three goals.
“Josh has been injured. He’s mainly our full-back but I brought him on and put him on the edge of the square. That allowed Conor to win ball around the middle. Josh is big and strong and well able to score as well which he showed.”
Enniskillen are renowed for their goal-scoring expertise, and Conor Love, a star of the St Michael’s Hogan Cup winning side this year, fended off Sean Óg Quinn and Sean McAuley from a route-one delivery before slamming the ball to the back of the net.
“We work as much on goals as points, but it helps when you have a forward the calibre of Conor Love. He’s an exceptional talent. His first thought is always goal, goal, goal, but he obviously realises that if the goal isn’t on, there’s always another option be it a point or laying the ball off.”
They’re likely to have a tougher day out against Lavey, who can call upon some of the best young talents in Ulster football at the moment like Enda and Matthew Downey.
Lavelle said: “They have plenty of players who have played MacRory Cup football for Maghera. When you hear the word Downey in Derry football you know you have lads with plenty of pedigree.”